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Subject: "RB Ashton Bill - 16.03.2000" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #588
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Bruce Madmin

17-03-00, 10:32 AM (GMT)
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"RB Ashton Bill - 16.03.2000"

Some initial thoughts on the RB Ashton Bill - I see it again on Saturday and will do a 'proper piece' at that time - goodness knows what proper means though!

Les Rendezvous I found the best piece on the night - despite the quite horrid new sets. Darcey Bussell and Jaimie Tapper were terrific and Roberto Bolle gave a polished in a frothy light piece of fun. And I did like the costumes.

Thais pas de Deux. Durante and Bolle pleased everybody, but somehow my eyes don't see his proportions as right and Mukhamedov does it with a conviction that few can match.

Symphonic Variations. A sublime piece but unfortunately the original lead girls are all injured and so we got Alina Cojocaru, Jane Burn and Mara Galeazzi. Perhaps understandably it was all a little tentative and the easy nature of the choreography got lost at times. But clearly Cojocaru (currently in the corps) is destined for much greater things - just can't report that it was fairy tale and she brought the house down etc. The boys - Sansom, Kobborg and Essakow were the ones to watch - superb dancing and so nicely understated.

Marguerite and Armand. It's very difficult to see something like this for the first time having heard so much about. Hype would be too cruel a word but many expectations have been set. On a first viewing Guillem and Cope did not do so much for me. I don't think the problem is them so much as the piece itself - it all happens at such a pace one does not feel so drawn in and to understand the characters and start to feel their plight. Very much "wham, bam, thank you ma'am". Some of the choreography is elegant and expressive, but for love/sex its hard to beat what MacMillan has done. I kept thinking that Manon does this all so much better. However this was a first viewing and I look forward to seeing it again on Saturday with Le Riche guesting.

I've written more than I thought and possibly been harder than I expected - it is a nice programme and I'm glad they have brought back such works for us. Worth seeing!

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: RB Ashton Bill - 16.03.2000 Stephanie Wragg 17-03-00 1
     Views from seats in Covent Garden Bruce Madmin 17-03-00 2
         Ashton programme Michael 18-03-00 3
  RE: RB Ashton Bill - 16.03.2000 Helen 20-03-00 4
     RE: RB Ashton Bill - 16.03.2000 Penny 20-03-00 5

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Stephanie Wragg

17-03-00, 10:59 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: RB Ashton Bill - 16.03.2000"
In response to message #0
   Happy to read some more opinions regarding the Ashton programming. Pity that such an evening has to be an event, when the RB was his 'home' company....

Anyway, I am attending the 22-03-00 performance. Any idea who will be appearing in the Thais pas de deux? The thought that Mukhamedov might be doing it brings tingles to my spine!!!!

Awaiting your Saturday review!!

By the way, any idea what the view is like from the stalls circle seats? I have never been to the ROH.

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Bruce Madmin

17-03-00, 11:45 AM (GMT)
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2. "Views from seats in Covent Garden"
In response to message #1
>By the way, any idea what the
>view is like from the stalls
>circle seats? I have never
>been to the ROH.

Generally good but if you have low numbers, <10 or above 95(? not so sure on the high number), in row B you may have real problems in seeing much and it's best to find some place to stand.

Last night a friend had SC B6 (for which she paid 25) and could see nothing - its right next to wall and you see 20% of a corner of the stage at best. Do write and complain if you get a bad seat but expect a standard cover all letter (regardles of who you write to) that says your comments are taken on board while implying that had you properly consulted the box office staff you might not have found yourself in such a predicament (I paraphrase of course but that's the impression).

I think the ROH should be much more scientific about this and quote the percentage of the stage you can see from each restricted view seat. It would also help them in pricing. At the moment I can't see how anybody can have a sensible conversation with the box office because it is all too subjective. Pricing is supposedly changing but the reality is that B6 in particular is unmerchantable and a number of us would be happy to sit with a senior ROH Director and see him/her enjoy the view and justify it.

The other serious problem is rows B and C in the stalls. They are at the same level as row A and the view is poor given that you pay the same as everybody else in stalls. When I booked row B seats I was not told about this.

That's the problems I know of. However most seats in the stalls now have rather better views than they ever did before, though overall the public have not got that much better views for the spending of the 227m...

There are soem threads about views - use the Find facility to pick them up

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18-03-00, 02:29 AM (GMT)
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3. "Ashton programme"
In response to message #2
   I don't recall Irek ever dancing Thais - recently Cassidy and Nunn for the 1994 revival and now Cope and Bolle. I thought Bolle superb and he responded beautifully to Viviana, who I think it the best since Sibley created it.

Rendezvous is most charming and what a technical challenge, to which as Bruce said, Darcey and the adorable Jaime Tapper rose magnificently. Anthony Dowell gave a charming birthday address to Markova before the performance, and Darcey did her solo with great aplomb, getting a lovely audience reaction to the saucy walk offstage. The costumes are lovely, the designs less so.

I was very impressed in Symphonic with the cool elegance of Alina Cojocaru, obviously blessed with star quality. She showed up the tensions in Galeazzi and especially Burn whose shoulders were too tight. Bruce was perfection of style, matched by Kobborg. Essakow is less tidy and I look forward to seeing Cervera and Sasaki. There was intense concentration in the audience to this miraculous piece and very warm applause.

I think the revival of M&A well worthwhile but it is a fragile piece. Sylvie is a born Marguerite, and really it is Marguerites ballet. I saw Le Riche on the first night, and he has a more elemental animal quality but lacks Copes exemplary partnering which led to some daring moments. I really think it has opened the way to other casts - maybe Viviana, Asylmuratova ??

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20-03-00, 07:28 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: RB Ashton Bill - 16.03.2000"
In response to message #0
   I saw the Ashton bill on Saturday.
Sadly, I don't think Margurite and Armand worked, at least not for me. I wanted it to, because I have such wonderful memories of the original performances, and I tried very hard to have an open mind and not make comparisons. But the ghosts were just too powerful, and the performances just not powerful enough. I still think it's a beautiful ballet, exquisitely constructed, but because it's so short every moment must be significant, and I didn't feel this happened. Guillem, I felt, could have got near to it, and at times she did, but the problem was that Le Riche didn't, and obviously in this ballet above all there must be strong chemistry between the two leads.
The highlight of the evening for me was Alina Cojocaru's performance in Symphonic Variations, closely followed by Durante and Cope in Thais. Cojocaru has beautiful proportions, as Fonteyn had, and is a very musical dancer, essential for this piece. (Well, for anything really, but Ashton was musical to an extreme degree.)
Les Rendezvous was fun, in spite of the vile designs, and well danced all round. Interesting to see Naomi Reynolds in the Pas de Quatre. She was the memorable Clara in Nutcracker in the 1994 TV documentary The House. I couldn't really tell from this performance whether she was fulfilling her apparent promise.

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20-03-00, 12:25 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Penny Click to send private message to Penny Click to add this user to your buddy list  
5. "RE: RB Ashton Bill - 16.03.2000"
In response to message #4
   First piece was charming in spite of costumes - Tapper and Bussell gave lovely performances. Loved Viviana in Thais but thought she was badly let down by Cope's partnering(who almost seemed to drop her at one point) and the difference in heights. While he is excellent for Guillem he seemed very casual with Durante. While Guillem and Le Riche were stunning in technique and Guillem brilliant in interpretation I was still not totally convinced.

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